Voltron Season 8 – A short review of an awkward finale

For starters I will say this – I love this show. It has amazingly fluid animation, kickass music (I get a strong Mass Effect vibe from some tracks), lots of action, spiffy technobabble and wonderfully imaginative designs (those planets! I love the Olkari!). The voice actors did an outstanding job voicing a cast of memorable and relatable characters that I quickly fell in love with. There aren’t many shows that got me so hooked into watching straight from the pilot episode and Voltron is one of those shows. I stayed up late to watch episodes because I was so hyped to find out what happens next.

That said, it’s not a show without flaws that, unfortunately, put a sizable shade on what would otherwise be a wonderful sci-fi epic. But I’ll explain that later.

I’m very conflicted about season 8 of Voltron. It started with a bang and I was extremely hyped for the final showdown with Honerva. Unfortunately midseason I noticed I was starting to feel fatigue. Season 7 was different – the midseason shift to Sendak occupying Earth was fresh and thrilling. It had me grabbing at the edge of my seat. The Honerva finale felt…bland. I felt as if we’ve done this before, only the stakes got higher. Sendak felt fresh cause he was different – he didn’t want to gather all the Quintessence, capture the Lions or for realities to end. He was just a warlord who got ordered to destroy Earth and in true Galra fashion he wanted to do just that, while also getting his shot at personal revenge against the paladins.

Since season 3, it was obvious Voltron had a pacing problem – the tempo was neckbreaking fast. There was a lot more story to tell and a lot more characters to flesh out, yet the show had little time to do so. It’s all apparent in season 8, where a lot of plots get lost or wrapped up in a hasty and messy way. Worse yet, new ideas are introduced and never get any sort of closure, like Axca and Veronica becoming friends. I honestly could do without the humourous episode, less amazing “Voltron flying through mindspace” shots and with less Slav sock jokes (which are brilliant btw) in favour of more story meat. I wanted more “Day Forty-Seven” and “Launch Date”, less “Clear Day”.

It feels as if this season tried to do too much and wrap up too much but didn’t know how to do it properly. There are some amazing scenes and cool character episodes, but it doesn’t feel like enough. Also, killing off Allura after all that buildup between her and Lance felt like Adam’s death – done purely for unnecessary shock value. It’s apparent in the Epilogue which I’ll describe character by character, going from best to worst.

I think Pidge’s epilogue is the best. It’s badass that the Holt family worked on creating a new generation of Defenders (a nod to Vehicle Voltron) and it felt really in character for her to be pushing the limits of technological advance. Plus, she looks gorgeous in that “years later” photo!

Hunk’s epilogue is good too. While I wished for something more from Hunk than “Food Emperor”, with food being his schtick for so many seasons, it’s still very in character and fitting his warm persona to conquer the galaxy’s heart…through it’s stomach!

Keith’s feels a bit weird. I imagined him as some sort of galactic peacekeeper but I think galactic humanitarian fits his newfound calmness very much. Plus, he looks quite happy in that photo so it’s all good!

Now here are the two epilogues I didn’t like and I’ll explain more why.

When it was announced that Shiro is gay, I was ecstatic. He’s not just a paladin of Voltron, he’s THE paladin – a wise protector and a charismatic leader. Whatever the odds, Shiro doesn’t give up and pulls everyone through the darkness. He’s a perfect role model to looks up too! Unfortunately his relationship with Adam got mishandled and the marketing lied to us presenting a barely fleshed out relationship as a focal point of season 7. The end result was awful – Adam got killed off after only a few scenes. To add insult to injury, Shiro’s story ends with him getting married to Curtis, a guy that was barely on screen and had very little interaction with the captain of the Atlas. It all felt more like an insulting marketing or PR stunt than true representation. They could’ve at least given them some more interaction in “Clear Day”, instead of that dumb arm wrestling contest. Unfortunately, that was not meant to be…

What’s more…Shiro’s retirment ending feels VERY out of character. He went through a lot in these 8 seasons – PTSD, death, his ex-boyfriend dying in Sendak’s attack. That’s a lot. Yet he’s the man who’s clone stated there’s nothing more fulfilling than being a paladin. Even in an era where Voltron isn’t needed, it’s hard to believe that someone like Shiro would retire from protecting others.

And speaking of out of character…LANCE. Why oh why, did they do this to Lance? He was a loudmouth showoff from day one, but it was also apparent he had a huge heart hidden under that obnoxious exterior and a knack for cool-headed leadership. Lance matured the most through the series and I loved that about him. He was a constant butt of jokes with him being called a goofball or the dumbest paladin, yet he was the one that dished out a lot of heartfelt support and was willing to sacrifice his position for the sake of the team. When Allura said everyone noticed he had “greatness within” in season 5 I had high hopes our Sharpshooter would get the recognition he deserved. I even though he’d end up becoming the paladin of the Black Lion in the end.

I get that Lance loves his family very much and he wanted to spread Allura’s peace message above all else but…Lance was never someone who’d shy out of service. Even when he was homesick or his insecurities got the best of him, the team could always depend on Lance. And with the galaxy needing stability and peace more then ever even a former paladin of Voltron had a lot to do. That’s why his “simple farm life” ending feels off – Lance would be perfect as a diplomat or an instructor for the new generation of Legendary Defenders, with him going back to the simple life after the galaxy has truly become peaceful. I can totally see him working with Pidge and Keith on that. The way the show handled it, Lance’s epilogue just felt…sad and depressing.

Voltron is still one of my favourite shows. I love the characters (especially Shiro and Lance) but I just regret that it didn’t have more time to properly flesh out relationships and close up the story in a suitable way. Will we get a sequel? Hard to say. Probably not, but I’ll be happy if we do. I just hope it won’t be as hasty with it’s storytelling!